Targeting booze sales to underage

Police and the county council are cracking down on underage drinking in Bedlington with a series of test purchase operations.

Officers from the town’s neighbourhood policing team and Northumberland County Council’s public protection service recently undertook a test purchase operation focusing on alcohol sales to young people.

If test purchases are successful, action is taken against the member of staff who sold the alcohol, as well as the licensee.

On Friday, July 26, a number of pubs in Bedlington were visited and an underage volunteer was challenged and refused service in all of them except for the Grapes pub in Front Street, where they were served alcohol.

The staff member was given an £80 penalty notice and the local authority will be carrying out a follow up visit with the licensee.

Bedlington Neighbourhood Inspector Karen Murray said: “Operations like this are an important part of tackling underage drinking in the area and we run them regularly.

“We have a good relationship with the licensees and it’s positive to see the majority of them challenging underage drinkers and checking for ID before they serve alcohol.

“Underage drinking is linked to wider problems, so it’s vital that we continue to work with partners to continue to address it.”